New DS/Programming Laptop Recommendations


Our team has been using a Toshiba Satellite C55D-B5310 for the past two years as our driver station and programming laptop. We own two of them, one of which has USB ports with independent wills of their own (and a propensity to randomly disconnect things plugged into said ports) and therefore is not used as a DS laptop. This season, I am the official programming lead, and I am therefore spending a significant amount of time with these laptops. And I’m beginning to realize just how slow and non-functional they can be.

The blue wheel of death is a frequent occurrence, Eclipse is prone to “Not Responding”, and force-quitting the 2017 driver station via task manager has become common. I realize that these are not top-of-the-line laptops, but they’re becoming quite slow (they are used exclusively for programming and driving activities, and therefore have very empty hard drives and are not used for anything taxing other than regular development and testing).

Here’s where CD comes in: I’m looking for recommendations for a reliable yet inexpensive laptop, preferably one that your or your team has used for FRC related activities (with success) and one that will last us longer than two years (you don’t have to have proof on this, just looking for something sturdy, built by a reliable company). It needs to run Windows as well(…the fact that the DS software is Windows-exclusive annoys me but it’s out of my hands).

Thanks in advance!!

Our team likes to buy used Dell Latitude laptops for our programming/DS needs. We bought an 12" Dell latitude (E6620) for about $150 on Ebay and put a small SSD in it. It gets 5hrs of battery life and is nice and compact. We got a older Latitude 15" for programming on (E6640) from a local university because they were getting rid of them. Same deal, throw an SSD in it, and it runs like new. A lot of businesses and schools will sell or give away computers that are pretty nice for cheap. Dell Latitudes and Lenovo Thinkpads are extremely common and often last much longer than the consumer grade stuff. Ebay has a lot of good deals because of that. They usually just need a SSD and sometimes a new battery, and they run like new.

I like having a touchscreen laptop for the DS, it makes dashboards more useful. :slight_smile:

Specifically, we’ve used the Lenovo Thinkpad? (The one you can fold around so it’s just the screen) and this year we are using an HP Envy I believe.

If you are planning on doing programing, I am inclined to suggest that you have at least an i5 processor from one of the last 2 or 3 Intel i5 generations. Especially on some of the more complex tasks (DS Vision Tracking, Compiling Large Programs, etc…) this will make your life easier. After that I would recommend at least 8GB of RAM and a 15" screen (the right amount for portability and functionality in my mind).

I know someone who got on sale for ~$500 on Black Friday 2016 and from what I have seen it is great.

Somebody also mentioned Lenovo Thinkpads and I have to say I love Lenovo laptops (accept when you want a high powered gaming laptop then Asus GL502 all the way). I would also recommend a Lenovo T Series Laptop ( those things are rugged and meant to last.

Also, check with the school system you are associated with often they have relationships with computer manufacturers where they may buy in bulk and could get you one cheaper. That or they may realize that you need a computer and donate one.